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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  November 7, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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when did they meet? >> hitler visited franco in madrid in the middle 40s. >> i have no idea what might have been set but clearly it was a disappointment and i just think franco was smart. ..
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and picked up your book in number of years ago. it truly helped him so on his behalf and 9i am curious as to what is going from thrillers to historical fiction, and also why you have a very strong woman and each of your affection. [applause] >> thank you. i was interested in architecture. i used to look at the cathedral's because of how beautiful they are and how serene, the but i very quickly became interested in how they were built. when you look at one of those european cathedrals you do think
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how did people get those enormous homes? beauvis had no power tools, know mathematics for constructing cranes and so on, and so i became interested in how it was done and eventually became interested in the society that produced the great cathedrals and the question that strikes anybody is why are they there so i became fascinated by that and quite early on in my career when i was still struggling to make it as a writer i had a go at writing a novel about building a cathedral. i felt jerry convinced it was a great popular novel to be written in the cathedral in about 1976, i wrote a few
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chapters on an outline and i sent them to my agent. he didn't like it at all and he was right and he said you are writing a tapestry and what you need is a series of linked melodrama. the truth of the matter and he was right about that, but the truth of the matter was 1976 when i had only been writing for to action for three years i wasn't capable of writing a cathedral and i had another idea to write about a german spy in england who discovers the secret of the invasion and ten years later i went back because i still fought there was a great popular novel to be written.
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ten years later i went back to the idea. after ten years as a professional full-time writer writing stories all the time my skills are better and i was able to write the novel that i had conceived so long ago and i wrote another out line. five? that i write five? we must have said the first one was okay, could be better. >> i heard you talking about he rejected the book and the characters had passed and they wouldn't sell them in the united states and you were -- he wasn't telling you, he was telling you how to write the novel. >> that is absolutely true. >> we have time for just a couple more questions.
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>> i am a retired doctor in new york city and i want to ask a very personal question and i hope he won't mind. in your writing or subsequent have people come up to you and said i've changed my life because of when you have rhode? i think most people that write or do things, whatever it is, they want to know if they had an impact on someone's life. >> i can't think of an instance in which somebody has said quite that to me. sometimes a book resonates with a person very strongly because of something they are going through in their personal life, so if they're going through a tragedy and the book somehow helps them to deal with that, then they will write to me and tell me about this and say thank
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you for your book because it helped me through this. i'm not thinking about that when i'm writing the book and i am never quite sure. but i can't remember anybody saying that i changed their lives. i would be very flattered by that but why did you ask that question? you must have a reason for that. >> whether they are raising children or teaching whether they are a position were going to africa they feel what they are doing is going to change someone's life even if it is just one. i think that writing is a wonderful way to do that.
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>> we have time for one more question. my name is more and gramm. i'm a graduate of the university of buffalo. you talked about how gingerly we have to deal with the characters, and i was very much struck by your treatment of a young churchill in st. petersburg how richly you declare that and i wonder what your sources were if you want to write about churchill the amount of material is an enormous. there's loads of stuff. one of the most famous people in history if there's any difficulty it's not finding material that sifting. he of course writes a great deal himself and you get the most
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vivid sense of the character of the kind of majestic pros and applicable words and the way that he will switch from -- he will start a rather ponderous sentence and ended with a very nifty line it gives you strength and weakness yen and he tended to think that was enough so he drove his colleagues madd in that way. when he's made a good speech he thinks that he has solved the problem. i'm glad you -- he has appeared in many of my notes and he's obviously one of the most interesting real-life characters that you could possibly imagine.
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>> we have time for one more. >> what are your favorite books going back to the literature? >> i read a lot of 19th century fiction. it's what i enjoy most. i like stories in which the decisions made by the characters and the actions they take change the course of events. the traditional shape of an awful if i do read contemporary literary novels in which this doesn't happen then i get irritated with them. of course i am right in the 19th century tradition and they are on the best-seller list as well. most leaders still enjoy a story, an old-fashioned story and much people are confronted
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with problems and they struggle to solve them and the things they do make a difference to the outcome. so, when i am reading for fun, i like to read anthony trollope as well as farewell main delete command once jane austen, and the american writer i like jerry much a little bit later the great favorite of mine because she is a real storyteller but she's always fiercely intelligent and her analysis of her character always amazes you and she doesn't just do that, she tells you a story. >> before i turn this back over
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i want to ask a personal favor and ask you to sign this book. [applause] by the way you will have the chance to do the same. >> while they are signing i just want to introduce myself and how thrilling it is to have you all here and these charming gentleman i'm sure you agree and i want to remind you the book is on sale and a book signing will be out the back, and so i am so happy that you came and said yes and we want to thank you for agreeing to come and it must
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have been immediate too i guess. thank you. it's wonderful. [applause] >> the 77th annual book awards presented to books that have made an important contribution to society's understanding of racism and diversity of human cultures. they were held earlier in september at the ohio theater in cleveland. >> good evening my friends. it is great to be back in cleveland. i love cleveland. i have a thing in my heart for cleveland ohio. given that to yourself. [applause] >> and welcome to the 77th, 77th annual anisielf-wolf awards and this is a 16th ceremony to be held publicly before that time it was just done through the
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mail. our 16th ceremony coming and what a lovely ceremony it is each year. one to which i look forward to coasting with ron every year. and this by the way is ron's tenth year as the head of the cleveland foundation. and what a remarkable ten years it has been, hasn't it? [applause] thanks for all that you do for cleveland and all that you have done to ensure that it is anisielf-wolf's commitment from a visionary commitment come incredibly made three-quarters of a century ago to honoring such an odd thing. excellence in the literary and scholarly explorations of cultural diversity and that you have ensured that this vision, this crazy idea has not only been protected it has been nurtured, it has been expanded, it's been fulfilled in ways that even anisielf-wolf could have
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scarcely imagined. let's give it up for ron richardson. [applause] >> these awards are chosen each year by stiller jury, composed of the poet reader, the novelist joyce carol, this ecologist steven paynter, my colleague, and the historian simon. this award has always been a major national book prize with a host of outstanding previous winners including a among so many others, stephen hughes, and even the reverend dr. martin luther king jr.. and now, thanks to the vision cut and sheer energy of one person we now have a hot website and light streaming video of our event, national press club for rich and several lectures and presentations from and you all know that one person is and she is the lifeblood of the anisielf-wolf book awards, dear friend and comrade, mary louise.
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[applause] on the intellectual calendar that takes an entire team of people to cool off -- pull off but also cindy schultz. please, stand up and the six other team members who worked for months to create this. give it up to cindy. [applause] as mary louise put it to me just yesterday, and i quote in an e-mail making sure i was granted a year, she mailed me three times and called me when i was on the plane. it was terrible. i was coming i stopped to get my shoes shined and almost had a heart attack. i am quoting from her e-mail to show her i do agree that even if i do is ignore them.
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she was a return to the preserved person with how many people across the country now understand her result to open . open mind as to the rich diversity of human cultures and the tragedy and waste of prejudice and hatred. it is an honor to serve as chair of the jury and play even a modest role in fulfilling the believe in america and the cultural diversity of the human communities. a diversity that these awards are committed to nourishing and protecting. so think you for honoring me with this assignment, and now let's get on to the reason that you've come here to meet in this year's honorees. it's showtime, ladies and gentlemen. esi edugyan. this is the miracle of frenetic skilling, ladies and gentlemen.
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if you saw this you wouldn't even recognize the name. from baltimore to berlin to paris, "half-blood blues" is esi edugyan's story of an afro german trumpet player and his band called the hot time swingers is in 1939 for occupied paris arrested by the nazis for the crime of being in africa german jazz musician. degenerate both by birth because he's one of the masters so-called produced by the unions of german women and french colonial soldiers after world war i and degenerate by choice because they considered jazz to be a degenerate art form, a quote on quote, jewish property. think about that.
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it's a figure of the novel which has been praised to the heavens which is a little exposed, i'm sorry, uses a little exposed corner of the african diaspora to address the themes of creativity as relations to the other and the very nature of those historical memory and historical discourse. the novel was powered not only by its flights from place to place and from person-to-person, but also, and i would say most impressively by esi edugyan's use of black vernacular language, the common language spoken by people has covered african-american fiction for more than a century. finton charles chesnutt, langston hughes darnell, ohio's turney morris. the language the characters speak becomes almost a character
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itself. vernacular is an expression of belonging of identity, and most certainly a place. it's also an assertion of authority over a particular story. it establishes a storyteller if you think about as the master of the story as the designer of her or his own terms. it is of ostensibly mary to buy the baptists who has his own bones to pick in his own story to tell. the language is itself a hybrid to use the derogatory german term for half breeds, quote on "and what they themselves call mongrels. she drawls the well recorded past fall of the time when in our games and male musicians i would rather like that myself. because when they swing but in
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vince her own as well and century telling. they've called this blending of language in her own one of the genuine pleasures of writing this book. indeed it is one of the features of the book that is praised as well. sam sacks of "the wall street journal" hill with the novels piece of ventriloquism. the critic in the independent and the u.k. rose, and i quote, the novel was truly extraordinary in its shimmering jazz vernacular. it's pitch perfect male banter and period of slain and not even over one sentence. i am sometimes leary i have to confess of comparison of writing to jazz with the critics one has about half blood blues that it is, quote, fluid and hip.
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i agree but on a worry that that formulation is too easy. as the judges for the near scotia bank award wrote, quote, its conventional to like in the pros and novels to the music itself as there could be no higher praise. they could say rather that in the jazz musician would be happy to play the way they write. her style was deceptively conversational and easy to continue but with a simultaneous exuberance and the discipline of a true prada tree these works of art belong together. the u.k. review he can write which helps explain to them a
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scotia bank prize canada's most prestigious award for fiction in the english "half-blood blues" when the 2012 willson prize and was short listed for both 2011 man booker prize and the 2012 orange prize for fiction among others. it was selected by "the new york times" book review as an editor's choice as the best book of the year and for comparable honor by amazon, the san francisco chronicle to name just a few. "less than"half-blood blues" isd novel. the first was named one of 2004's books to remember why the new york public library. it was nominated to the legacy award, and it is a part of canada's's new face of fiction program. as they say in my beloved nigeria in calgary in making our
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own a victorious, esi edugyan has held residencies in spain and icelandic and germany it's a writer the global mail says promises to leave black literature and a whole new direction. and i happen to agree with that. for her vacation, for her invocation at the time and place that are entrenched in our imaginations that they use even as they define our imagination and for her elimination of people upon whom too little historical or literary life has been shown, esi edugyan is awarded the anisielf-wolf book award for fiction for her stunning and startling of all "half-blood blues."
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♪ i am so honored to be receiving this award tonight to be associated with this long and distinguished list of amazing writers who have won this before it's just incredible, and to be associated with what this award increases and stands for, i am just honor. i will be reading from "half-blood blues" and start at the beginning so as not to give anything away. and dr. gates did a beautiful doll of introducing the themes of the novel so i will start right with it. they told us not to go out, said
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don't you tempt the devil. it was cheap. but at was like nails. it didn't even look right, like drinking swamp water. we are exhausted [inaudible] dropped like cloth on her skin. a couple hours before. the cracked heaters, empty bottles all over the floor, they were like holes in the dark and that is how i knew.
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just singer everyone chasing about the rats and wall. could it be he wasn't so rotten but too nervous and crazed and busy watching. forget the rot. take after take at the end of it tossing it in the trash. it's a braid of mistakes. in of royalty we had said nothing with our heads hanging tirelessly.
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for weeks it had been going on and on and with the pocket knife there was nothing there but there was something in the twisted duty. i didn't mean to but somehow when he turned his back i was sliding off my desk best and folding the fabric around it. i tucked it into my base case. they were packing up. leave the last record out. he appeared in the trash bin. you didn't want this, did you?
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there's no point. we are never going to get this right. are you saying we should give it up? the kid who just turned. the empty bottles although all we've locked up quite. [inaudible] a quiet way along the alley with the sound of footsteps. we collapsed onto dirty couches and blackout curtains. i set my acts against the wall like i could feel it just sitting in their still wounded. i felt its presence in tense and it seemed strange. all of that heat. a couple months before we spent
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a day but it didn't come through any way. the room felt thrilled. we needed to sweat it out in the fresh air. he was draped in his chair with his legs dangling when all of a sudden he turned to me with his face and dark and smooth. i better get me some milk. we talked like mongrels, have a german, just a few scraps of french between us. [inaudible] i couldn't straighten them up again.
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i knew that he preferred it this way. he talked like he did. he was still young that way. [inaudible] the darkness and him i had never seen before. i gave a quick glance. it wasn't built i felt, not that exactly. [inaudible] in the covered i reckon. he coughed. i'm trying to clean my stomach. it's milk i need, brother.
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that powdered stuff well where it right through you. it ain't that bad, i said. it's not open this hour, you know that. but that's too far. in the bad light i could make out the fireplace. it was a grand old flat on the chandeliers and tapestries he then urged her to sell what she could. it seemed less week to him, and now the flat being so empty he felt only its death.
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homeplace nothing but darkness. i glanced over. kid, i put a hand to my head. i watched him i reckoned that was his idea. it looked like he was heading to the fireplace stumbling all about. what are you doing, kid. you've never seen a man put on his shoes before? i'm going to put my coat on.
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it got twisted and the sleeves and he stood up and it was daylight right about now. you and your self. you are a fool. you know you don't have any papers. he shrugged. i'm just going down a day and far. he opened the door and slid out onto the landing in the dark staring at the shadows i felt sort of uneasy, don't know why, well it wasn't far. all right, all right. holdup. i am coming. i stumbled up and then when you were slipping down the stairs in the dark and pushing out into
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the street. we usually went all of nowhere in the daytime never without the lila, never the same route twice [inaudible] but he group reckless as the occupation of needed. he was a half lead. his skin wasn't like here oil to get everything else about him and to this the fact he didn't have identity papers right now, well let's just say it wasn't a cakewalk for him. me, i was american and the mystically for white [inaudible] straight hair, green on his
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would be lying. we had gone out not to get there in that city and every one approaching us. when he had cut in with his native germans, well, david dalia of surprise. he liked it though. the savage talking like he's civilized. you could see that a glimmer in their life like a knife, turning we knew they wouldn't send of the chaos forever. sometimes when i looked out through the curtains into the homes i would see our old berlin. i would see that night when the glass on the street shattered. we had been in a flat on the
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plaza messing it up and when they opened the curtains it is like looking down on the carnival, the crowd in the firelight, broken bottles. we had gone down after minutes. it's like walking on a gravel path for crunching on each step. the synagogue up the block was on fire. we watched the fireman standing with their backs spraying water on all these other buildings to keep the fire from spreading. i remember the crowd getting quiet. the fire on the street, the pos water running into the drain. i could see their teeth on the black cobblestone. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you. david livingston smith has long been a student in some of humankind's. the 2,004 look why we lie, the evolutionary roots of deception in the unconscious mind drew on the training in the philosophy of mind, psychology and psychoanalysis to examine the inevitability of deception. we are wired for it. in 2007, he explored the tendencies of humans in the most dangerous animal, human nature and origins of the war. between wired for that, too. less than human life we deneen and sleeve and exterminate others, one of our to nonfiction
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winners tonight brings history, psychology, biology, anthropology and philosophy to their on the phenomena. the practice of one group, the practice by one group of rendering another group so human even if the humanization takes on a particular cultural forms, it is none the less as ancient as humanity in his argument. and it's what he calls a joint creation of biology culture and the architecture of the human mind. it's not difficult to think of far too many examples from the 20th century alone of the words that had been used to dehumanize and to kill. vermin, cockroaches and dogs. have we been told by the aggressors populated the human landscape of nazi germany, rwanda, sudan and the middle east to name a few of the most
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glaring examples. in reading the analysis of this language and thinking about the human tendency to treat groups of people not as people that as animals, one wonders if there is any of our species that needs to make its enemies not only lesser, that would seem to be the law of the jungle as it were but categorically different as well. we can certainly see this radical dehumanization and our own history. black slaves were not only must, but for fundamentally different than their white slave owners. never the remaining wholly in the realm of fever philosophy or psychology but always drawing examples from our own experience in the world smith argues that if we want to overcome our tendency to dehumanize, which leads to atrocities and genocide, we must look these tendencies square in the face and we must study them honestly,
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openly to control them. less than human has garnered praised in the journal evolutionary psychology and i quote books like this should be required reading for all flatted dearth and his idea into every school curriculum. the psychologist paul bloom calls it a beautiful book on an ugly topic and the dean of the field of intellectual philosophy calls it and i quote a powerful and original work forces us to recognize monstrous atrocities are carried out by not monsters but by ourselves. reef years in the mainstream press including barbara ehrenreich in the review of books and the books reviewed for
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its thoroughness even while contesting some of smith's argument. this is why in the opinion of the jury, this is i'm sorry in the opinion of the jury the sign of a book it inspires a dialogue of what it means to be human and challenges the readers to contemplate the very large questions of being and human connection. professor smith has written from "the new york times," usa today and other national publications, and he has been a frequent guest on npr and bbc and broadcast television. he recently addressed the key 20 summit in moscow those mexico and his co-founder of the new england institute for cognitive science and studies and associate professor of philosophy and religious studies in the university of new
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england. he's been a student of how human beings make their way in the world even though that way it is often not pretty. he challenges each to tinker with our own wiring to be aware, and he hopes to do better to refer his profound insight into the human condition and in to the conditions, some documents place on others we present him to the anisielf-wolf book award for non-fiction. [applause] ♪ >> this is wonderful, and i deeply appreciate the fact that such a distinguished jury read
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my book much less thought that was worthy of this great honor. in a moment i am going to read an excerpt from "less than human." which deals of course with the atrocities but it's useful to remind ourselves of the point considering the atrocities of the past to make a better future if we can understand what is driven us to do the terrible things that we have done. perhaps we can fashion the future with no more rwanda, no more auschwitz, no more hiroshimas. so to strike a somber note i would like to remind you sitting here enjoying this event that halfway around the world there is a genocide of attrition going on in sudan and that genocide is being fuelled by immunization
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and i will not go into it more, but those of interested can speak to my dear colleague who is the founder and the african freedom coalition and i will have some literature on the table in the reception after the ceremony so let me read. the demonization of african-americans did not end with the creation of the new nation in 1776 or was the abolition of slavery in 1865. books and pamphlets published during the latter part of the 20th century east continue to assert they were during the 19th century the new discipline of anthropology gave this racist ideology of the respectability some like the british surgeons
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of the harvard geologist and the philadelphia position where people who believe each race involve independently the others and therefore they were separate species that he's more like a monkey than a european and cannot be denied as a general observation. both german anthropologist's vividly describe paul the genesis mindset with extermination of the policy. writing in 1863 of those that regarded the so-called where races as subhuman creatures he remarked if there was a species of mankind their must be a natural aristocracy among them is opposed to the lower racist who buy their origin are destined to serve the no devotee
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of mankind they are used like domestic animals or may according to the circumstances be fat and were used for physiological experiments without any compunction. to endeavor to leave them to a higher morality would be as foolish as to expect the trees with the cultivation of their peaches for that amount he would learn to speak by training. all of the war of extermination whenever the lower species are in the way of the white man are then not only excusable, but for the justifiable since the physical existence only is destroyed which would without any capacity for a higher moral development may be doomed to extinction in order to forge this base to hire or the muslims. and he went on to add this time with a delicious irony that such a theory has many advantages. it flatters our self-esteem by
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the specific excellence of our moral and intellectual endowment and saves us the troubles inquiring for the causes of the differences existing and civilization. it obtains many adherents while there are some who consider this one of the reasons which rendered the assumption of a specifically higher mental endowment of the white race in probable. nepal the generous as some sometimes got the american school because of its popularity in the united states. especially among the slavery. many americans use the bible with fidelity to underwrite their racial beliefs in an even more outlandish manner than the 17th and 18th century predecessors had done. some religious paula genesis believed african-americans are not of lineage but descended from animals that he took aboard
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the arc. others believe they were the progeny of the devil or descendants of a sub human race that god had fashioned prior to his creation. a book entitled the negro, the beast published at the turn of the 20th century by the american book and the bible house and biological fantasy. she informs his readers that he was really a black man using the word man rather loosely and involved as adam and eve were white people created in god's own image. beliefs like these fuel the continued violence directed at african americans serving the century or so following the civil war. the story of the tribesmen provides a heartbreaking illustration of the dehumanization of africans during this period.
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he lived with his wife and children in the village in the vast tract of land in south africa then called the congo free state. king leopold the second founded the congo state ostensibly to provide aid to the people living there. however, the st. was anything but free. leopold ruthlessly exploited its land and its people draining of resources like rubber, copper and ivory and exterminating approximately 8 million people in the process. the force, the court of african mercenaries forced the reign of terror they did their job with a gratuitous cruelty men, women and children that failed to meet their quotas were flogged with whips or they had their hands hacked off with a machete. their hands were then collected in basket and presented to colonial officials. one eyewitness reported a village which refused to provide
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rubber would be completely swept clean. i saw a soldier then and guarding the village take a net and attach stones to the net and make it tumble into the river. soldiers made the young men rape or kill their own mothers and sisters. the village was one of those swept clean who murdered his wife and children and sold him into an african slave trader. it was at this point that samuel phillips entered the picture and a mercenary was an africa on a mission but not a religious one. he signed a contract to bring exotic specimens of humanity to st. louis for a human zoo at the 1904 world's fair to read this was the grand exit giving visitors an opportunity with tribal people brought to misery from the corners of the world even the old apache warrior
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better known by his mexican surname nickname geronimo was going to be on display. he was shopping when he discovered he paid of the slave merchant and took the young man to the united states along with several other who agreed to join them. when the affair was over, he returned them all to their homeland and remained in africa for a year-and-a-half collecting artifacts and specimens. during this time they became friends and he accompanied him on his collecting and ventures and asked to return to him in the united states. he consented. after the museum of natural history, he was given a home at the newly opened xu where he soon became exhibit sharing the page with m i a renehan.
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they had monkeys as companions "the new york times" wrote the next day, and there could be no doubt that the majority, the joint man and monkey expedition was the most interesting site in the park. spokesman for the african-american community protested, reverend james gordon pleaded our race we think is depressed enough without existing on a fuss with the apes. we think we are worthy of being considered human beings with seoul's and the delegation led by the reverend r. s. mcarthur addressed the letter to the mayor of new york. the person responsible for this exhibition degrades himself as much as he does the africans. instead of making a beast of this little fellow he should be put in school for the development of such power as god gave to him. we send our missionaries to africa to christianize the people and then we bring one here to read these protests did not focus entirely on the
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racially character and exhibits. there were also concerned that the exhibit supported darwinism which then as now was anathema to many christians. buckling under the pressure of controversy they released him from his cage and allowed him to wander around the zoo or the crowds pursued him and the times reported. nearly every man, woman and child need for them to see the star attraction in the park, the wild man from africa they chased him about the ground all day howling and yelling some of them poked him in the ribs and other stripped him of and all laughed at him. what happened next isn't entirely clear. one summer day he decided to undress. apparently they tried to force him back into his clothes and they responded by threatening him with a knife. he was transferred to the orphan
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asylum. he declined the offer to return him to africa because despite his bad experiences in new york they were nowhere near as bad as the horrors unfolding in his homeland. after a sexual scandal involving a teenage girl he was transferred to long island and eventually to lynchburg virginia where he attended the seminary in a tobacco factory. ten years after arriving in the united states, a longing to return to his homeland but not able to afford a ticket back, he put a bullet through his heart. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. david w. blight sesquicentennial
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it is a word with which many of us are familiar and if we are not now, we will soon be. the 150th anniversary of the sesquicentennial of the emancipation proclamation is upon us in 2013 and many books are being published in college being planned to commemorate this remarkable event in human history. we are hosting such an even at harvard to rid the signing and the implementation of the emancipation proclamation was a remarkable event by any measure but not an uncomplicated one. president lincoln sponsor on slavery, freedom and african-americans all over time and sometimes philosophical sometimes pragmatic calculus of the needs of the nation. no scholar has taught us more or taught me more about the role of the memory and the historiography of the civil war
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and then as david w. blight to read the 2001 masterpiece called race to the union won all of the most important awards in the field, the bancroft prize, abraham lincoln, frederick douglass prize and the awards from the organization of the american historians. in this book he argued what seemed so apparent to us now largely because of his work that the chief narrative followed the civil war were about the courage of the soldiers and about the north and the south and how his people fought. but as the historian points out they were competing narrative's, and i am quoting one of those narratives' was the story of sleeper becoming emancipation and freedom. he's long been to put narrative back into the official count of the civil war. in his other works since that
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book including beyond the battlefield and the civil war, has adjusted freedom the underground railroad and the history and memory and the slave no more, the two men the diskette to freedom including the narrative's of emancipation and countless articles, essays and lectures he's returned to different aspects and the theme of memory and commemoration. and what it means to complete these objectives accounts with fact and history and not recognize them as a subjective at all. now he comes to us with an american oracle, the civil war in the civil rights era which brings this nuanced expiration into the 20th century. as we approach the sesquicentennial of the proclamation, blight brings to light out for american writers brought their own perspectives to bear on the centennial of the civil war, how they grappled with the issues and influenced
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public memory and commemoration of the war to varying degrees. the writers featured from southern novelist and essayist would come to recant his view of the civil war as a lost cause. many western historian bruce katz and who andrew calls a sort of literary norman rockwell in part because of his capacious marks on the civil war were widely read the middle of the century. northern elite and literary critic who looked at the war in terms of his own pacifism often neglecting the role of race and the northern negro novelist and essayist james baldwin who was the most acute essayist and a thinker on the american psyche hands down working out that time. he said in an interview with the chronicle of higher education at all for coming and i quote, argued with america's tendency towards a progressive triumphant
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sense of history, and all for demanded that americans try to see through their well practiced and comfortable myth about the civil war and develop a genuine and authentically tragic sense of history. the critic and novelist carroll phillips said of the book, and i quote it ever lived effortlessly seems the biography and historical thinking and in the thoughtful and appreciative review in the new york review of books, andrew call said suggestive searching. ..
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>> it's my great honor and privilege to present the book award for nonfiction to my friend and my teacher, david w. white. [applause] ♪ >> my goodness. skip, i actually just wanted to
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keep sitting there, but you keep calling me. i don't want to talk about the book. i want to listen to skip. [laughter] if i may borrow a word from isabella, and suppose what a beautiful word to start, i think, almost every line with. suppose there was a place that celebrated books. suppose there was a book award in cleveland that drew hundreds of people to come celebrate books. suppose there was a place you could just love and embrace books. suppose, well, there is. [laughter] i actually celebrate you. this is an amazing statement of the love of books, and there's almost nothing better i can think of than that. [applause]
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i often start my lecture course in yale holding a narrative in my hand, and there's 200 students or 300 students, and i walk among the students, and i make them squirm, and i hold the book like it's a newborn child. [laughter] i try to get them to think about how they, too, can love books, and they get squirming, and then i finally go back and start the class. [laughter] thank you to mary louise hahn, the brains bind the organization, and to you, who does the award. the american civil war, as most of us know, at least in a landscape, all over our you have an extraordinary
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soldiers and sailors monument in the middle of cleveland. i actually just visited it today. extruer -- extraordinary monument. unlike, actually, most i've seen, and there are a lot of them. it is our most vexing experience that we've had to try to process. i chose the four writers that skip so well described for this book, and a fifth, actually, ralph ellison the subject of the epilogue, and my epilogue was in part inspired by a scene that arnold said depicted in his magnificent biography, and i had a chance to tell arnold that. you have to read the book to know what i meant by that. [laughter] robert in one of the so quotable lines in "legacy of the civil war" stops for a breath at one
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point saying the civil war draws us as an oracle, unriddled, pretentious, and national fate. that's a mouth full, but if there's an event, an epic, a turning point in american history that may, indeed, be our oracle, the place we go for wisdom. the place we go to ask questions about who we are, the place we go because we always seem to be still fighting over its legacies as it is probably the civil war, not just where the oracle is, but where it is, whether it's in a text, a place, a monument, the lincoln memorial, stone mountain, the shaw memorial in boston, it's anyone's choice, but it is that event in some ways that we go back to. now, james baldwin, i had great
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time writing this book, but i just wrote about the writers that just wanted to write about it, quoting them, end graphs, just using them for years until i finally decided i'm going to write about them and see what shape the book takes. baldwin, to me, is the most revealing. i'd always basically just quoted him, plucked passages as we all do. baldwin the essayist. baldwin, the nonfiction voice of the civil rights movement is something everyone should go back to revisit. in the collection, nobody knows my name, or in the collection, previous non-fiction collections or most famously, baldwin made himself the voice that was constantly, constantly asking why can't americans remember slavery? why don't they want to face their history with racism, why
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don't they want to look back at the emancipation process, why won't they look back at reconstruction? why won't they? he does it in the interview with baldwin, in the quick silver, you know, quick fire, quick method in appealing an under the skin of the guilt, but he left us so many passages about how we remember and forget. one of the simplist in the 1962 essay where he says too often when americans use words about their history, they use the words to cover up the sleeper, but never to wake him up. it's almost perfect. some metaphors come out of writers perfect. the past we so often -- we're all guilty of this sometimes. what path do you want to claim to be part of? what narrative do you want to live in?
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a past that helps me sleep at night, a past that makes me feel good. tell me the old story and make me feel good again, not the past that makes us wake up with nightmares. i just want to end with a quick story from baldwin. actually, i'll read it. it's just the last two pages of my chapter on james baldwin. baldwin just flew back from england, it's 1965 #. i still have a problem getting into the 20th century, sorry. [laughter] baldwin had been in england at the university of cambridge, they debated william f. buckley before 600 students, wiped the floor -- buckley had no chance in the debate.
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well, the topic at that time was the american dream, is it at the expense of the negro? i mean, you can actually see it on youtube. pull it up. you can actually watch the buckl ergs y-baldwin debate. it's just sunning. at any rate. he's just flown back from england, and he's on his way to a special event. february 21st, 1965, three days after the debate in england, malcolm x was assassinated in harlem. two weeks after that, 600 civil rights marchers were beaten by sheriffs deputies and state police and the bridge in selma, alabama, the incident was known as "bloody sunday," one of the most important markers in the civil right movement's history.
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if anything now, the fire next time, that manifesto of what might come to be in america if we didn't face this past, the fire next time, the 1963 sellere months number one on the "new york times" best seller's list, seems a bit too prophetic. by late march, baldwin in selma himself to participate in the voter registration drive and ultimately in the famous march from selma to montgomery march 25-29, 1965. baldwin joined the throng as it swelled on the highways, 25,000, 35,000 strong from all over america, and timely reachedded the old capital of the confederacy in month come ri. if we wish to see just what was at stake in the clashing versions of the history and memory of the civil war era with all their resonances in the
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civil rights era, which is what this book is really about, a small remembrance in one of baldwin's 1965 essays tells the tale. the voice of the civil rights movement, which what he was called at that point, not malcolm x, baldwin, the voice was powerfully alive in this essay which he called "unnamable objects, unspeakable crimes." baldwin pushed it in "ebony" magazine in 1965. you can find it other places now. he forged segregated and deeply suspicious historical memories of each other. he drew on cold war imagery arguing americans drew what was a colored curtain in their lives, hearts, historical
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consciousness, which as he put it, may prove to be more deadly than that iron curtain of which we speak so much. balleted r -- baldwin used a refrain between whites and blacks, whites and themselves, and between the stories from within which people claimed to be living. as the sell bra story marchers arrived, baldwin noticed the confederate flag was flying from the capitol dome, and that the federalized national bams -- alabama national guard ordered to protect the marchers, wore little confederate flags, and all along the road rode baldwin, quoting him, men and women, speaking undurable oppression for so long, waved and cheered and went. in the white section of town,
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baldwin saw businessmen, as he puts it, on balconies jeering, their maids in back doors standing silent. he described, a quote, "beige colored woman" on the street, a bit nervous who suddenly steps off the curb and joins them. with a small american flag in his hand, baldwin marched next to harry, his fellow harlem-born comrade who had also happened to be a u.s. navy veteran of world war ii. white secretaries an upstair office windows extended thumb's down signs says baldwin to the marchers until suddenly many of them saw the stunningly handsome reigning matinee idol, harry
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belafa enrings -- belafani in the crowd. when they saw that beautiful cat, women demonstrated that america was the most desperately schizophrenic of republicans. [laughter] baldwin's story telling prose and his insight were never in better form. this was vintage james baldwin. race, sex, and his country all on extraordinary display and subject to his scorching ironic pen. those young women in the windows, baldwin declared, quote , could on the look forward to an alliance with the jeering businessmen, and they were, female, a word which in the colored curtain suffered the same feat -- fate as the word "male," and
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baldwin did not hiss his chance. when the girls saw harry, a collision occurred in them so visible to once be hilarious and yet utterly sad. the thumbs were down. they were barricaded within their skins. at the next moment, those downturned numbers flew up to their mouths, their faces changed, and exactly like bobby, they ohed and awed, and moaned. only god knows what was happening in the minds and hearts of those girls. [laughter] perhaps, they just wanted to be free. out of imagery that only baldwin wife actually only seen, and a world historical moment amid the joy and sleepty of the march, he made great art out of all the
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real people around him barricaded in their skin. on the eve of the centennial, the surrender, in the city where the confederacy was born, baldwin, as he had been doing for years, tried to kill that old story asking everyone to see into a new history as they never had before. after all, he, too, just wanted to be loved and just wanted to be free. thank you. [applause] >> oh, thank you, david, so much. last, but not least, ladies and gentlemen, arnold ramp every said was driven to write his
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ph.d. dissertation at harvard on what he felt was lacking in prior attempts to renew the great man's life. with characteristic democracy, he said, quote "historians who wrote about him did good jobs, i believe they missed his essence, which, in my opinion, is the grandly poetic imagination he brought to the business of scene in describing black america and america itself," unquote. from the vantage point saying for years and years and years, i would say that my dear friend shares the genuine essence through the lenses of his bigraphical subjects, this premier biographer brought into sharpest focus, not just his subjects, but black america, and, indeed, america itself. professor was born in trinidad
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and calls his early literary education colonial. in those early years, he was certainly not a student of langston hughes or the renaissance. the writing that would shape him professionally, but perhaps it's his sublimely cosmopolitan per specttive on the united states and on its literature that gives him a clear-eyed view of it. that may be too easy a formulation. in any case, it's sufficient to say his work really is without compare. the world "magisterial" is used in conjunction with biographies so the effect of the word diminished somewhat, but i want to restore it. as i think -- as i can think of no better word than that to describe the march and authority of his four master works. the art an imagination, the life
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of langston hughes in two volume, jackie robertson a boying, and the first volume of the hughes biography was a nomination for the pulitzer prize. in recognition of the criex -- contributions to not just african-american biography, but to the genera biography itself, he recently received the 2012 by yo award of the biographers award. they call it fair to a fault saying he's a judicious and honest appraisal of the most difficult and complex figure in the american literary pantheon. he puts it humorously, " biographers enter into marriage with their subjects. usually, the rip is happens, but sometimes he wakes up after
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years of cohabitation, looks at the other person and sees a stranger. an unlikable stranger at that," unquote. whether he we him as aggressive and unlikable or both, he presents a fully flushed out character in this work. the temptation to lionize the man must have been great. no other novel had more influence over african-american writing in the latter half of the 20th century than visible man. another says treatment of langston hughes is unsparing and sympathetic. those are the qualities, if you think about it, ladies and gentlemen, of unvarnished truth telling, and it's those qualities that make this work so powerful, so very, very important. in addition to being a biographer without fear, he's a noted editor and anthologist
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with superbly edited editions like the poems of langston hughes and the big c in the auto biographers of langston hughes, unlocks the negro voices of the renaissance, black boy and native son, and the collection entitled "slavery in the imagination" edited down at the university of virginia. he's also the co-author of arthur's fetching memoir entitled "days of grace." he's the symbol professor in the humanities amother toc in stanford and worked with the rockefeller foundation, elected member of the academy of arts and sciences and the american philosophical society. in 2010, he received the national humanities medal which was presented to him by president obama in a ceremony at the white house in 2011,s nation's highest honor
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conferredded upon a human. arnold has been a model and mentor for literary scholars for three decades, and i include myself among that number, those of us indebted to him for his insistence upon the universality of standards, of truth with a capital "t," and beauty with a capital combining the fullest embrace of the bigraphical subjects' humanity with the courage to confront the fullest range of that humanity. qualities that are all too rare, even among our most lorded biographers, qualities absolutely necessary to the task of responsibly representing another person's life in all of its beauty and its darkness over the full range of its humanity and ours.
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that is the essence of the art of biography, and it is that challenge that arnold said is so successfully confronted squarely, honestly, and always most eloquently. that gives me an enormous amount of pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, and a privilege, to present arnold with the anisfield-wolf lifetime achievement award. ♪ [applause] >> i do agree that skip just should have kept op going and going, and i would not have had to say a word here. i should be the first, i think,
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glass of water. [laughter] it's wonderful to be in cleveland. i remember i'm a bowling green alummist. [applause] i also spent several weeks, months maybe, many, many years ago when i was working on the first volume of langston hughes trying to track down the footsteps of the wonderful man during his four years at central high in cleveland so it gives me a great deal of pleasure being back. thank you very, very much, professor gates, skip, my friend, and thank you, also, to all the members of the exceptionally distinguished jury, including you and the wonderful poet, rita dove, that
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decided to make me the honoree this year. i was pleased to receive a wonderful letter from richard confirming the news, and i thank all the people who helped to make my visit pleasurable, easy, comfortable, and including, perhaps all, mary louise hahn, already praised tonight. i recall vividly how thrilling it was in 1987 to learn the first volume of the langston hughes biography was selected by the anis field-wolf foundation as an honored book that year. i knew the pioneering roll and how crucial it was and is to have studies to do with race and american culture. of course, i would have hardly imagined then some 25 years later, i would be standing on
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this stage as the recipient of so distinguished an award from the same foundation. certainly, understanding race has been an essential challenge in my own bigraphical work, but my subject was hughes, ash, robertson, or ellison. each of these men experienced and understood race in a different way. for the prophetic debois, it was an all consuming issue which he wrestled his entire life and entitled a book "the autobiography of a race content." for langston hughes, a genial man, but not without demons, needless to say. race was in a topic from an angle emphasized not rage or recrimination, although, he had his firey moments, but his emphasis on the idea of the
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beauty, history, and spiritualty of black people. for the highly sensitive author, ash, race, by his own deck collar ration, was a source of pain, more intense than the disease of aids that took his life prematurely in 1993. for jackie robertson, race was first barriers of segregation to be hurdled spectacularly as he did in 1947, but then in later life, a gritty struggle for dignity and defectiveness waging in the spheres of politics, business, and civil rights. for ralph, it was an issue to be adjudicated in the context of a complex national identity founded on certain principles and ideals and try to legally in chai ellison reverentially called our quote, sacred
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documents. starting the work in english literature in the united states in 1968 as skip talked about, i was swept along, as many of us were in the 1960s and early 1970s, by the force of social and political changes involving race that were transforming american culture. choosing a dissertation topic, i terned away almost instinctively from traditional literary criticism, much as i loved poetry, i did not want to write a book at literary criticism of the traditional kind. dimly recognizing what i thought was a crisis of representation, we have black americans which are concerned, and i turned to a biography in the sense that biography offered an almost uniquely effective way to address what i call a crisis of representation. when i found myself sered to the bone by passages about race and
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the 19 o 3 classic, but read the major existing scholarly books, i couldn't see the face, the mind, the sensibility of the man who moved me so deeply. their debois was emphatically not mine, so i kipped as deeply as i could then into biography. the papers were close to me so i trieded my hand at what is called intellectual biography. i think what i didn't fully understand in starting out was the mere absolute rarity of black biography in those days, that is, biographies of black americans, by the whites or blacks. i didn't fully understand that in the real sense, biography simply was not supposed to happen to black americans; just as black americans with respect supposed, in some cases, not allowed, to live in certain
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neighborhoods or to hold certain positions. in the souls of black folk, debois wrote about the paradox of being a black american, possessing no, quote, "true self-consciousness but seeing one as always as whites saw one." he built on the contempt of the white world that seemed to think in his words that, quote, between man and cattle, god created a quid and called it negro." david smith covered some of this territory, but american history bore out the accuracy of this modern observation. one highly recorded 19th century book of since argued that blacks constituted not a different race, but an all together separate species from whites so that, quote, "the negro was closer to the chill chimpanzee o rang tang."
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as far as the founding fathers were concerned, blacks from the start, quote, regarded as being an inferior order and all together unfit to associate with the white race either in social or political relations, and so far unfit they had no whites which the white man had to respect, qun quote. they ruled in it was distasteful, but separate and equal accommodations for blacks and whites were legal, the era of jim crow was made legal. with such attitudes nationally held, a biography of a black man or woman amounted not only to a kind of violation of social taboos, but a violation of intellectual propriety itself. for many decades, frederick
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douglass, was the only substantial for a biography, one published by an established house. this situation persists well beyond the segregation decision of 1954 and the turmoil of the civil rights movement. finally, according to my record, in 1972, the historian louis hartland pushed the first of the two volumes on booker t. washington that would win him a pulitzer prize. the silence enveloping black writers began to break, and there was the novellest followed by a biography in 1977 of the novelist huerston by the american scholar robert hemming way, and in 1986 and 1988 came my two volumes on hughes aided by a archive left by hughes, i trieded to tell through the lens of a crucial life the
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african-american story as it had existed and exists at a certain social level. i tried to do justice to the complexity discounted over the centuries and the representation of american racial reality. the picture is quite different now. the 1990s saw a steady rise of prize-winning biographies of black americans by writers such as taylor branch and william mcfeelly, in 1994, 2001, louis won pulitzers for each of the two volumes, and this year, a biography by the late manning maribel won the pulitzer prize in the field of history. this surge in bigraphical writing about african-americans is, i think, a dependable index to the shifting meaning of race in american culture, and also to the dignity of black americans. biographies document and complicate our sense of the
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individual human condition. they are the opponents of facelessness, of existential emptiness of what has been called social death. in as far as race remains a major issue among us and will continue to remain major among us, biography, i would say, is almost uniquely qualified as an effective response to the harm that racism in various forms caused and continues to cause in so many aspects of our lives. i'm deeply satisfied to have played a small roll in the unfolding story of change, and, again, i am certainly profoundly grateful to the anisfield-wolf organization for honoring me today as it has done. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> c-span programs is good because they try to cover both sides of the issue, and the moderators, especially on "the washington journal" do a good job of being detached, not offering their own opinions, but saying, hey, what's your opinion? comprehensive about covering the different, both the house, senate, and other woodrow wilson center, and different other public affair centers here in dc that i wouldn't normally be exposed to. >> jeff wright watches c-span on comcast, c-span, created by america's cable companies in 1979, brought to you as a public service by your television provider. >> up next, legal journalist details the early career and 33 year supreme court tenure of william renquist discussing the
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juror u.s. with justice scalia. >> host: welcome john jenkins, to talk about "the life the william renquist." there's a general question so you know who the chief justice is and why william was important. there's only been 17 chiefs; correct? >> guest: correct, that's right. >> host: tell us about the position. what does the chief justice of the united states do and the importance of william, and then go into the chronology. displg well -- >> guest: well, the chief is really -- he has two roles in the judicial system. he's first, kind of the chief among equals on the court. he assigns the opinion when he's the majority. he leads the discussion in the conference. he has an important role to play among the nine justices, and he's really the key guy there, particularly when in the
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majority, but the other thing that he was and that the chief is is really the head of the entire administrative office of the u.s. courts, sort of runs the entire court system, and that's a whole part of his administrative responsibility that the other eight justices don't have. that's what a chief justice does. >> host: great. we'll talk about how he got into the position, but go back to the beginning. wisconsin, suburb of milwaukee, born october 1st, around this time, 1924, his father, a paper salesman, his mother, the homemaker, but he was the dominant force in the household. tell me about mrs. rehnquist, which she talked him into changing his middle name. >> guest: well, she was superstitious in terms of the middle name. they named him william donald when he was born on october 1st in 1924, and his mother, though,
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believed -- she was really a very very, very fascinating woman. she spoke five languages in addition to english. don't ask me what they were. they are in the book. there's a footnote in the book, but she was very learned. she was very proud of her education at the university of wisconsin, both his four and mother wisconsiners. they had not traveled far at all, and they were very, very middle class folks in the depression, and his father, as a paper salesman, got through high school, but lost the family house. he was the bred -- bread winner. in 1939, his house was sold in an auction. it was sold for the debt that was on it, which was $7,000. the family had been kind of through some very dire straights. they were also very conservative.
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they were america firsters meant they didn't want america to be in world war ii. they were against the new deal and roosevelt, very, a very, very conservative household. where that conservatism came on the parents' part, who knows, although it was pretty common, i think, doing my research, pretty commonly found in that particular suburb at the time, the folks that i interviewed told me. when rehnquist was going into the army, just to jump up a little bit on the last name, when he was going into the army, his mother, very superstitious says rehnquist, also, was superstitious, and so his mother believed that if he had a last name -- >> host: middle name. >> guest: yes, sorry, that started with "h," and had five letters in it, that would be good luck for him. a numerologist told her that.
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he researched the genealogy, and he had a grandmother with the name hubs. he changed his name himself. he told harry blackman, a seatman on the court, wrote a note to blackman, and said he changedded it in high school, but, actually, i think his recollection was probably incorrect because he changed it when he signed up for the united states army in 19 -- in early 1943 when he enlisted in the army. at that point, he was asked what the middle name was, and he said "hubs," and that was his name, and he was william h. rehnquist after that. >> host: so interesting. he said the hubs made the difference, that "h," and i remember so you would have been just a justice of the peace whether every chief justice of the united states without it. one of the more crucial moves in
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his life after he leaves milwaukee and goes to stanford law school is becoming a clerk to the supreme court justice, robert jackson. tell us a little bit about how that came about because i want to lead into what you unfold in here having to do with the conservatism on blacks and whites. >> guest: right, right. jackson was a -- was, i think, a seen by then, even, as a great justice, and he had been the prosecutor at the numberberg war trials, took time off from the court and gone to nuremberg and then game back to the court. rehnquist graduates from stanford law school early at the end of 1952. he was actually in the class that would have ended a semester later. he finishedded the work, so smart, got out early, and so he
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wanted to -- it was clear when i was researching through the papers and looking at the diary ies that were on deposit with the papers, fascinating, had six notebooks that were filled with rem innocences, -- memories, and desires, and memoirs, and one of the things that was clear is he really saw himself destined for some important job. he, actually, on the court probably or certainly somewhere in government because he had asked himself as a student, he had actually written what now honorable w. h. rehnquist with a big question mark. >> host: as a law school student? >> guest: an early law school student. what now, honorable w. h. rehnquist which is fascinating because it says he had this
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feeling of almost a destiny to be on the court when he was very, very young, but there was this confluence of events where jackson plays a role that allow him to do that. he had a professor who had taken an interest in him, and so the professor was friends with robert h. jackson, and jackson was going to be coming out to stanford. you have to remember it was hard to get out there from washington in those days. >> host: that's right. we're in the early 1950s. >> guest: early 50s. it was hard to get out there. he had a good law school, and he was whip smart, but it was hard for someone not in the ivy league to be a clerk on the court. it was very much an honor, and it was hard -- actually, the justices in those days, jackson had been working with one clerk so maybe nine people or ten, 11 people a year are getting the clerkships, not many.
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coming from the ivy league. >> host: am i remembers right, jackson had a ground breaking for the law school? what brought him out there? >> guest: two things. what brought him out was bo homian grove in a place in california. i actually worked on another story about the bohemian grove so i know the place well. >> host: a men's club? >> guest: all men, 2,000 men together at a summer camp, and they do it every year as there was a bohemian club in san fransisco hosting this con fab of corporate decision makers, government luminaries, diplomats, very, very important people, probably the equivalent today of, you know, some of the big events that happen in aspen, and out, you know, when you see folks in shirt sleeves rubbing elbows with each other. jackson, actually, was coming out in august of that year, 195
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#, to -- 1952, to do that. his professor said, first, he asked jackson, there was a ground breaking of the law school, will you speak? jackson agreed. then the professor surprised rehnquist saying i'm going to arrange for you to meet him. the interesting thing is that rehnquist did meet him, and method with jackson, and jackson just kind of didn't even interview him. rehnquist had a swedish an sees rights movement, -- ancestry, which he talked about always, and so jackson got off on a tangent of talking about his swedish clients that he had had, and he told rehnquist some stories, and rehnquist really didn't get a chance to really talk about himself very much. >> host: to impress him with his smarts. >> guest: he didn't think he did a good job in the interview, and jackson thanked him, nice to meet you, went on his way, and
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that was it. rehnquist didn't hear anything now for a couple weeks. he starts getting worried, and he writes a letter to jackson, and he says, you know, i'm in my last semester of law school. i really have to figure out what i want to do. he says i've got a number of interviews and offers, he says, in california. >> host: that's not true; right? >> guest: well, it doesn't look like it's true, but he says it is. rehnquist later says it was not true. he confessed to jackson it was not true. rehnquist says i have all of these offerses and i need to make a decision. can you help me out? it was smart on rehnquist's part. jackson comes back and he says, you know, i think we could use, and jackson put it, a second man. i think we could use a second man. maybe by march of next year because i think the workload is going to be really, really hard for one man.
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in those days, they were the clerks. rehnquist then petitions saying, i could come earlier. i'd like to be there in january. jackson says, okay, come in january. basically, that was it. rehnquist kind of right man, right time, the timing was perfect, and rehnquist drives this little studio -- studebaker out to washington, no heater, and gets caught in a blizzard, but he gets there, and he shows up at the court, and he actually starts working, which he's -- he's in awe of the supreme court and the corinthian columns in the great place he's now in. >> host: right. that's a really big break for him. obviously, he proved himself academically, very smart, got into the schools he applied to, but he's the crucial move with justice jackson, but it also leads to something that haunts
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him for the rest of his career. that has to do with the memos in the brown v. board of education case. >> guest: right. >> host: tell us what his role of and why it turned out to be controversial. >> guest: well, he actually wrote a number of memos, and they kind of, those memos stumbled out on stage in a very rough sequence over many years later, and they came back to haunt him. what he did -- so he gets there, and percolating up through the courts already, going back to -- back to 1950, are the cases of the naacp, legal and education defense fund, that thurgood marshall is actually bringing, and he's building it sort of brick-by-brick, block-by-block, and thurgood marshall not yet a justice of the supreme court making the case that plessi versus ferguson, defined the
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case of separate, but equal, defining the case in the naacp, that this can want remain the law of the -- cannot remain the law of the land. it's clear that the case that's going to be a very, very important one for the court, and it's the year that rehnquist is there, is brown versus board of education. it turns out, in fact, to be the case that strikes that doctrine down, very, very important, in a unanimous decision of the supreme court so rehnquist is -- part of the role of a clerk is to offer his advice and opinions to his boss about these cases, and so rehnquist writes a memo about brown versus board of education, and he's basically says that plessi should stand. rehnquist authors this memo, gives it to jackson.
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jackson doesn't -- if jackson -- i'm sure jackson read the mechanism -- memo, but he puts it away. of course, jackson is one of the nine justices who unanimously vote to strike it down in this very, very important case, finally decided in 1954. -actually roadway heard the year -- reargued the year after the memo. >> host: gets rid of separate but equal. >> guest: gets rid of separate but equal, but rehnquist was against that finding, the holding in that case. rehnquist, believed as a supreme court clerk, that that was the wrong outcome, and he argued passionately. if you think back -- when i was looking at his early years at stanford, it's clear that this is not something new, okay? >> host: new to him? >> guest: this is not something new to him. this is something really in his firmment. he believes that this plessi is
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right and should be affirmed as he says in the memo. there are some other cases that -- there's many, many cases at this point coming along that the court is having to decide whether to accept, and there's actually another case that is a voting rights case, but a discrimination case, and that is called terry versus adam, and so it also comes up the same year, and the issue in terry is whether or not a -- this club in texas, which is called the texas jay bird club, a democratic social club that if you're not a member of the club, you cannot vote in the primary in essence, and only white people allowed to be in the club. the issue in that case is should they take the position and hear the case? rehnquist writes two memos about terry versus adams basically saying the right of free
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association, and, again, this goes way back to the conservatism of his youth and probably his parents and such, but he writes in two more memos to douglass, to jackson, asserting very, very strongly that the right of free association is such that the supreme court should let this case go, leave it alone, and also espousing views that he says basically, it's about time we understand that white people and black people don't like each other, and let's just move on, and so the -- those memos, all of which are now in the archives of jackson, but those archives were closed. it's only when they start leaking out. first one in 1971, the brown versus board of education memo comes out in 1971. the terry versus adams memo i review in the first time in the new
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"new york times". >> host: when you say 1971, nominated to be a justice, when the brown memos come out. the terry versus adams memos you found, putting him squarely on record as a hardened segregationist. now, you chalk up a lot of it to his era, but many of the other clerks in the supreme court during this time were of the era, and justices, all of the justices were from a previous era. he seems to have taken his views a little further than maybe his parents held. what is your idea of the roots of them, other than just the times and wisconsin, once conservative, but it didn't stand out in conservatism. >> guest: you're absolutely right, and i thought so much about this and struggled over this really in terms of i want to portray, i wanted to portray his life very, very accurately and fairly, pulling no punches,
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but at the same time, not landing them if they are not deserved, and so i think that, and so i thought about it a lot. the issue for rehnquist was he believes so passionately in individual freedom, and it was, you know, in his day, i don't know whether the phrase "libertarian" was one bantied about that much, but, really, that's where he was coming from, and i think his views, which i say in the book were clearly racist and segregationist, even by the standards of the time, even considering the standards of the time, they were certainly more extreme and more -- and he went out of his way to, we have not yet talked about his time in phoenix, but i hope to get back to that because he went out of his way when he moved to phoenix to practice law after the clerkship to really pick fights with the other side over this. he reallimented to --
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really wanted to make a strong case because he believed so passionately, and he was an ideolog and idealistic about individual freedom, and i think that's why he did this. i -- i say that he was really an unconscious -- this was an unconscious racism. if it was racism, it was unconscious on his part. he was probably -- he couldn't possibly been aware, so self-aware at the time of how he would be perceived. later, clearly, he understands, wow, i was really out there, and then he has another problem because by the time he's nominated in 1971, he's clearly well qualified for the position on the court. he's got some explaning to do about the 60s and the 50s and it's how he handles that that i think is actually as revealing as anything at this point. >> host: okay. close the loop on that before we
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go back to the chronology, and that's his testimony in 1971 when he's nominated to be an associate justice on the supreme court by richard nixon, and in 1986 when he's nominated to be elevated to be chief justice by ronald reagan. both times the memos comes up, and both times denies the sentiment you describe, and you portray him as outright lying. do you think william rehnquist faced the lie, or was he just in denial as he got further? >> guest: i think he was in denial. i think he was in denial. the -- the situation in 1971 is that the hearing record is basically closed. >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: he's testified -- he's so slick and smart and excellent in his pairing of the questions, both in 1971 and, again, when he's no , nominaten 1986 to be chief justice. the senators birch, ted kennedy,
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joe biden, they don't lay a hand on him really, and so he's so excellent at parrying the questions, and the hearing record in 1971 is closed, and then suddenly, shortly before the vote is to take place on rehnquist and also on louis powell, up at the same time -- >> host: right. >> guest: shortly before that, a vote is to occur, but before that, the reporter for "news week," a really great guy, and he comes up, somehow, with this memo from the jackson files, the memo relating to brown versus board of education, and it's a bomb shell, and so birch, a senator from a very liberal and great senator from indiana at that time, birch is kind of leading the fight against rehnquist. he's leading the liberal fight against rehnquist, and they know
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it's going to be close. they also know they will go down in flames, but it's close. he senses this can make it closer. he starts really pushing; and the publicity comes out, and nixon and his attorney general, john mitchell, who, actually, have kind of concocted this whole rehnquist nomination -- there's a whole other story there that's fascinating -- >> host: right. >> guest: so nixon and mitchell worry they will lose the pr bat and things could go south. nixon had trouble getting nominees confirmed on just such a basis as this. >> host: yeah. >> guest: so rehnquist professes that he actually doesn't even remember this memo. it's possible. because he doesn't remember it, he could be very unconsciously or very consciously believe that he didn't write it or he wrote it, as he said at the time, explains it that this was -- this was justice jackson's
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request for summation of his views, not of my own. now, that actually, there was no one there to rebut that, even though there were opinions expressed both ways, rehnquist was not under oath. he submitted a letter to the chairman at that point of the judiciary committee and said this is my recollection. it was justice jackson's views that i was espousing, not my own. >> host: this after the hearings, not under oath, in 1971, the jackson supporters couldn't say this never would have been his views. >> guest: the hearings were closed, not reopened, and so what happens is he manages to skate on that, probably lost votes, but he manages to skate, and he is approved by a vote of 68 -- my recollection is 68-26, and which is a lot of votes at that time for -- there had been nominees that had not been
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approved, but for someone to be approved, at that time, usually unanimous, and it was far from unanimous, and i think probably that stung a little, but rehnquist got on to the court. he managed to skate past that because the memo came in late, and he was not under oath, and he could say and he probably very well believed it, i don't remember this, and it must have been justice jackson's views. that's what he did. it comes up again later in 1986 because now we have this memo all over again. now the naacp can bring in the folks who had not testified before to testify to the other side of that, and then by then, also, you had the terry versus adams memos, and when you start looking at his activities in phoenix during the 1960s, very, very conservative and against public accommodation laws and such, and his outspoken opposition to integration, and
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the memo not just in brown, but terry v. adams and the other writings he did, it suddenly looks like a preponderance of evidence in 1986 that he, in fact, probably very much was lying about this if he even remembered it, but it was his views. ..
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and did he know he was lying? >> well, he simply said repeatedly coming you know, i'm sorry, i just don't have any recollection of this at all. he did not allow himself to start going down the slippery slope. maybe i did, maybe i didn't. let me think about this. he categorically denied any recollection. i just don't have a recollection of this. it's fascinating, and ex-fbi agent named james brosnahan, who actually spoke to for this the. i called him a. he was a great witness for the opposition because he had been the fbi agent that had been called to the scene in phoenix in 1960s in the election when william rehnquist was interfering with voters. he was a very well-known and respected respected lawyer by 10
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in san francisco. brosnahan said of his day. i was the fbi agent on the scene. identify him as the man. it was discouraging but voters. rehnquist was giving them a test, which was not illegal, but he was really pushing the line to the point where the police and fbi had to be called to restore order. and rehnquist simply said that was not me. >> host: kind of a mistaken identity. so james brosnahan comes and puts a lot on the line. >> guest: and really kind of just gets hammered because he's not let that anything that he can grab onto to come back. he just says they can't explain it. it's just not me. i was very, i thought kg. very typical when i met with rehnquist 10 years later. very, very typical of the
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question he just didn't want to answer. and that's what happened. >> fascinating. if our member, whenever james brosnahan would come before the supreme court, william rehnquist would recuse himself of the case. so it stayed that way. let me just finish that one other thing and then were going to take a break. you referred to his time in phoenix and then he comes to washington d.c. with the justice department. just wanted to know how he came here right after richard nixon was elected in 68. >> guest: rehnquist went back to phoenix and he decided to jump into everything he could possibly join to become a better-known business getting attorney and is extremely successful, by the way. very little known by the mana property he was able to amass and wealth at that time in
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phoenix. he was very successful. he meets the protéges and supporters of barry goldwater who is shaking things up and is the precursor to ronald reagan back in the early 60s. and so, he hitches up with these guys. one of the people he meets is richard kleindienst. he is the key guy for goldwater and has also gotten the attention of the nixon administration and john mitchell, nixon's best friend, campaign manager and his attorney general. so kleindienst is invited to be the man of justice. randy says i need rehnquist with me. this guy is smart. mitchell opposes up first. he says we don't need more than one cowboy. one cowboy is enough. but kleindienst persuades him to bring rehnquist to the pier
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hotel in new york with her campaign headquarters in transition had orders. and rehnquist comes in and believe that private meeting with mitchell innes got the job. >> host: richard kleindienst, and will pick up after this. thank you. >> host: welcome back, john jenkins could want to pick up on the chronology, our 16th justice of the united states. first of me ask you questions about you and how you decided to write this book. i know you had 10 apiece for "the new york times" magazine in 1985. but here we are in 2012. i know it didn't take you that long. so tell us a little bit about why you decided to do at this point. >> guest: in 1985 i was assigned the story and met with
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rehnquist in interviews in 1984. i'd written him a letter. he had not given any interviews at all. we weren't sure whether he would accept this or not. he had he sent a letter back right away, which he was very punk ways about that. he said you know, why don't she'll commendable get to know each other better and i'll decide whether i want to cooperate or not. i thought i'm going to go on with my tape recorder and questions and be fully prepared and i'll let him throw me out if he doesn't want to have this conversation. in fact come he had the conversation we had to very commit very good meetings. time goes by. during my research for the times, my editor at the time was encouraging me. dig, dig for origins of his conservatism. what is that? there's got to be more here. this guy is wired from birth as
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an archconservative. dig hard for that, john. so i did and i think i did a credible job with the information available. but after his death and the availability of papers to stanford university. to the hoover institution at stanford, considered a very conservative, and it is institution. he put significant restrictions on the papers he probably would have been able to do had he given them as many justices do to the library of congress. so three years after his death, the papers become available. that's probably 2008. and so, i knew i needed to jump on that and be the one to go through those papers and hopefully find something that would help me tell a story of this man.
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the papers were just a vast flow. the case documents are still largely locked up because one of the considerations he has is that no papers can be available -- court cases for many justice to purchase needed is still alive. of course john paul stevens comes on the court is in a gerald ford and i still live. there's a lot of cases going on the way back to not open. but the cases in the first few years were. a centrist and personal papers, letters to these children come of letters to his family, his diaries and the books he made notes about a knowledge that is just fascinating and thousands upon thousands to the hoover institution. >> host: justice is served up in the papers.
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harry blackmun kept every note in the entirety and put absolutely no restrictions at all. even though the papers are at washington university, the curators of those papers are technically not supposed to be open i think. but they are very, very helpful. i was very pleased for those documents because that shows aside as to the papers of blackmun and the papers of douglas showed a side that is very important to reveal. >> host: lewis powell and william rehnquist come on the supreme court in january 1972. tell us about the role in his own selection when it comes to washington where we left off and
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comes with richard kleindienst beard is an assistant attorney general at the department of justice and starts having a hand in selection for supreme court nominees and lo and behold and fall of 1971, he becomes one. just go rehnquist is the person that the justice department put in charge by and large abetting the nixon administration's nominees and his record on this is very mixed i have to say. >> host: who he is abetting successfully. >> guest: and he let them slip through, good or bad he is taking the fall for and responsibility for. as i mentioned, richard nixon had come on to the presidency with a commitment to appoint conservative southerners to the
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court. it's hard for us to even think about this today. but nixon was a complex guy in his own right. and so, rehnquist here in the department of justice is now supposed to be helping him find these guys. the very first two vacancies, first to nominees that go up to the court are clement haynesworth and harold carswell, both of whom failed to be confirmed. and rehnquist kind of takes the fall for that because he had been qualified and i just got hammered during the hearing. so by the time there is this amazing confluence, pretty amazing. two very latest president be into more of with hugo black and john harlan.
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within a couple weeks of each other in a few months later. so he was looking to replace black. so he was hoping he would keep harlan, but he was elderly and blind and had a lot of issues. so by this time, nixon and his attorney general mitchell have decided they're going to take this thing over themselves. they can't really run the risk and it actually got another important job for rehnquist at this time, with the two vacancies, which is he is supposed to be running a committee to declassify documents and nixon and his diabolical efforts. nixon believes and brinkley said sure doesn't know this, but when the white house tapes came out later, it turns out the reason he once rehnquist to do that is because he believes that he can get these documents declassified , he conservative
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views than to paint the image of the kennedy family, typically bob kennedy and jfk and even ted kennedy, who he sees as a potential rival in the coming election. so the declassification of these documents, nixon once rehnquist to handle so you can the documents out when i turned that rehnquist is it going enough, nixon and his other folks that later discredited watergate is either going to make up documents and make them anyway. that's a whole other thing. so what happens is rehnquist is busy doing that and meanwhile nixon wants to move fast. >> host: this is all the fall of 1971. >> guest: she wants to fast before the election and also knows that time is his enemy. getting the jump on someone is what he needs to do. someone has the brilliant idea,
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actually fred moore in the white house, but he sells the idea. >> guest: you are correct, moore -- there was a fred moore. he has this brilliant idea that rehnquist is the guy, smart and really going to be a guy on the corporate 30 years of marker which of course is exactly what happened. they plant the seed was nixon. mitchell actually you can listen to the tape and you can hear mitchell and nixon is kind of rolling around and first he doesn't really like the idea. but he warms to it because he's got a deadline. he wants to make a speech. and actually 10 hours before the speech, he decided rehnquist is this man along with lewis powell. posted at fascinating.
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you mention the tapes in which anyone of our viewers can get from the archives you can put in our cassette and make a copy and listen to it. during richard nixon, a graduate of duke law school get jealous i sold about how smart rehnquist was at stanford. i remember the president said something maybe it wasn't as hard at stanford as it was at duke because john mitchell of the attorney general is of course talking about how smartly rehnquist was, first in his class and also having clerked for justice jackson. so he's on the court and this is what you write about him. under rehnquist to the constitution of the state officials have risqué people. they could stop women from having abortions, but they couldn't give the slightest reference to to seek admission to a state university. he voted against affirmative action every time the court considered it. it's a timely reminder since the courts about to take it a good tell me about his legacy on the
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law. >> guest: to rehnquist legacy i think first of all inside he made it very acceptable. he paved the way for ideological conservatives to be except it will as members of the court. so his real legacy is not so much that he was the author of great opinions like braun in the warned area or even row in the area of murder. but because the billing or, to my mind anyway, opinions of rehnquist that are particularly memorable. but don't take my word for it. i asked, what are your opinions? he said i don't have any memorable opinions. nothing really comes to mind as being particularly memorable yet
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i think that's an honest answer accurate answer. >> host: you probably could've said in 25. >> guest: he would've cited in 2005 just as much. so i think really is legacy as he came onto the court with an agenda. as the title at "the new york times" ambrosino is a journalist, i don't get the title, but i thought i was very, very accurate. our member asking him, and you consider yourself a partisan? and he said yes. he was unabashedly partisan. so his legacy i think is that he made it acceptable to be a partisan on the court. if you look at polls that chased what the public angst of the court, i think that during prior
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chief justices, the sense of the public is that the court was the one institution that is above the fray. the rough-and-tumble congress has always been that way. it's one institution above the fray. that is changed. this clearly changed. you can sense the institution of the court and they see it now is politicized. >> host: let me ask you about how he got a little bit more about the legacy if attacked about some of his work on the court. he was very consistent in those areas that she site in terms of racial remedies come in terms of abortion rights, now. suggest it wasn't just his idea because you talk about the political influence. was there something larger and has idea of society provides that the basic conservative than you trace back?
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was a kind of a collection of fact or set of the constitution? >> guest: i think rehnquist is a worldview site as a very, very young man. i had the opportunity when she was still alive in the 1980s to speak to his english teacher, who told me the thing she remembered, and this is really a sensor in a research chemist saint tommy about this guy. >> host: sherwood high school? >> guest: sherwood high school. her comment was this is a young man who is very sure of themselves in very, very conservative. very traditional in his beliefs. and so yes, i think that when william rehnquist confronted a case, he did not look at the
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prior precedent and say, let's see what my prior colleagues thought about this. i'll be guided by that. he was guided very much as he put it was on the doorstep at this point. and by his own personal views of it. so yes, he was a very traditional, conservative person who brought it to his view of this case. keep in mind, he had read the road to serfdom in the army. basically he quit college after one semester, joined the army and started reading these great books. he viewed that is the single most important book to the infrared, the road to serfdom, which is the defining libertarian philosophy. >> host: as such a contrast, this very supersmart, self-taught in some ways who can
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be first in whatever classico's two. he can knock off work at three, just very quick. i thought into it deeper than race for facts, trivia, geography, anything, you name it. but yet, he had these trivial pursuit that you make a big deal out of it. you have a full dirt on his board impact her. i know he found letters the blame when qwest wrote while sitting on the bench, and that's like a kid in eighth grade geography, passing a note to someone from the teacher. this is the u.s. supreme court. tommy wei devoted an entire dirt to this boredom factor in which you make of it when you contrast to this very brainy individual.
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>> guest: i thought i needed to explain why he did all these other things. i think his boredom, i think the title of the chapter, and he did title of the chapter, there's no doubt in my mind he just wasn't intellectually challenged by much of the court he did. he has been warned about this by bill douglas. bill douglas took him under his wing and these guys are so ideologically polar opposite and phil douglass believed as a young man coming on the court was 47, much, much younger, nominated by fdr. he kind of inculcated that you got to have a lot of other pursuits. i think if rehnquist was bored, if he had not been nominated to be the chief, he just needed fast because he was so smart.
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i think if he had not been nominated to be chief, it's clear to me, going back and reading the interview transcript with an that he would've retired. he would've retired in 1989 because when he mentioned not come as statistically sad, are you ready to retire? this is the end of 1984. a lot of things changed after that. he was nominated and 86. but in 84, when i reached the age of 65 and 1989 with more than 15 years of service on the court, i intend to leave. you could take cases if you wanted, he would be making his full salary. he said i want to do some other things. i want to teach. he would've been words as teaching by the way. he was also trying to write novels. he would have been, and i was personally just fascinated by this and i read the novels because they are in his papers.
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so he was trying to become the first justice, very secret and very quiet, but the first justice ever to write a novel. it's never happened. you can check. it still is never happened according to the archives. he went to douglas for help because douglas had written over 50 books and hundreds of articles and he was just a writing machine because he had so many alimony payments to make your day been married four times they needed money and was scrounging around however you cut it. so rehnquist saw this and introduced into his agent, robby lyons, who has at that time probably the number one talent agent in hollywood at that time and those who create authorization and lance introduced into his whole different world of hollywood and the new york literary salons.
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this also came keen to make and very comfortable. in the beginning, he was very take away. >> host: had many pursuits off the bench. some point -- address some points to make overall. this is 1986, when he does decide to stay because obviously he gets an amazing opportunity being the chief justice of the united states. warren burger had set the constitutional anniversary commission and ronald reagan basically the same position that richard nixon was by default in step with william rehnquist. tell us a little bit about that. >> host: well, worker by then has been chief justice since 1969. now it's 1986. he 79 years old. he is the chairman of the bicentennial of them so many
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people -- and certainly not the first one who made the point that he looks like a shoe justice that came out. booming baritone and just looked the part. but he dropped the ceremonial. he really loved the ceremony at the office in a way that rehnquist never did. he loved the administrative management side of it and that he was very good at it. but he just had a thing for the constitutional bicentennial. so he asks for a meeting with rehnquist with reagan. and so, reagan's people think that berger is going to ask for more money for the bicentennial because he believes it is underfunded. so they debate whether to allow him to come it with reagan or not. reagan decides to meet with him as a courtesy. so burger comes in and about 20 minutes into this discussion that is having with the president, he drops the bombshell that is going to
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resign. so they have been waiting for this and now it is upon them. so the political guys in the reagan white house, which includes ed meese among others, who by then his reagan's very, very good friend and is now the attorney general. so meese for 30 got a short list and at the top of the shortlist is rehnquist because meese believes iran quest will do exactly what nixon believed to redo as an associate justice and he's right that rehnquist will comment with an agenda to reverse what the reagan white house sees as the access is of the war and the burger courts. >> host: now, the reagan administration was much more vigorous in its pursuit of fandango and the nixon administration. so is there really anyone who would've been and can tension
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against william rehnquist to be chief justice in 1986? >> guest: i think sandra day o'connor. you wrote a book about her. i actually think that at some point a lot of people were discussing almost from the moment she came onto the court i think as a potential chief justice. whether there was anyone inside the reagan administration to seriously can do that, i don't know. but i know that there were many that thought that could work. ultimately, i think when i looked at o'connor they saw somebody that had this human quality about her that she was on predict the bull. and reagan -- reagan knew that rehnquist was going to be just completely predict the bull. robert burke was out there at
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the time and conceivably could have been considered. but in this case, it was really engquist's to lose, so they didn't really have anyone on the list at that point. he came in and of course had ever thought he had or might have had about retiring it goes right out the window because here's a new challenge, even a symmetric is as he raced his family, race to one of his children that he just glowed the administrative burden and it is not a handle that. >> host: you turn out to be very good. >> guest: very good actually. >> host: you write in your collection you wanted to set the record straight. what are some of the most common misunderstandings about william rehnquist? ..
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>> he was personal and warm towards the justices. now, i will say this, the evidence in his papers, and i -- that's what i'm using as my guide, but i think it's very, very valid. the evidence is that he had very mixed relations with his colleagues. i think that every one of them
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at some point felt the lash from william rehnquist. he got things done with añi gla, okay? i, as an interviewer, could feel that. i just did in my relatively few times that i actually sat across from him, you could feel when you offended him or asked the wrong question. he'd let you know. he was much more complex than some of the little stories and antidepressant -- antedotes lead us to believe. >> host: finally, looking forward, he hired a man by the name of john roberts, who is now our chief justice of the united states, and william rehnquist hiredded him as an associate justice. john roberts served in the ronald reagan and hw bush administrations and appointed to the supreme court in 2005 to succeed william rehnquist after he died from the thyroid cancer.
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what is the legacy that you believe that william rehnquist gave to john roberts, and do you see him in the same vain? >> guest: well, i -- i see roberts as rehnquist's natural heir, okay? >> host: same partisan vain? >> guest: absolutely. now, roberts is a -- roberts, i think, is a -- is a more depth partisan in some respects, but also, actually, if you believe the academics and you believe, and i do, the ideology of the record, roberts is more conservative than rehnquist. there's never a court as conservative, according to the academic studies, there's never been a court more conservative right now than the roberts court, at least not sense 1937
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when records really are starting to be analyzed and kept. i think roberts is very much different in some republics from rehnquist. i'm not sure that rehnquist would have voted as roberts did. he might have. i'm not sure he would have voted as reports did on the affordable care act. >> host: like william bet against it. >> guest: against it, but i was betting against reports too. what would have happened, somebody else would have stepped up. p anthony kennedy would have stepped up, something a much, much different dynamic. i think roberts is different in some ways. he's much more polished, i think, in his dealings with all of this constituencies, but conservatives, like his boss, william rehnquist, i think really cut from the same bolt of cloth. >> host: john jenkins, thanks
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so much, and good luck with your book. >> guest: thanks so much. thank you for having me today. >> america ranks 29th now in the speed of the internet behind leading investor lites of the world like ukraine. we pay the highest prices in the world by far. by one measure, we pay 38 times by what the japanese pay per bit of information. if you buy a triple play package, and i have one in my home, you pay on average, with taxes in the u.s., $160. in france, you pay $38 u.s., and you get worldwide calling to 70 countries, not just to u.s. and canada. you get worldwide television, and your internet is 20 times
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faster up load and 10 times faster downloading. these countries understand a fundamental principle. in the 19th sench, canals and railroads were the key to economic growth to move heavy things like steal. as the 20th century came along, it was highways, interstate highway program, for example, and airports that were crucial to economic growth. now it's the information superhighway. what does the industry say snow don't call it that anymore. >> best selling author, david cay johnston on how corporations try to rob you blind on "after words" this weekend on c-span2's booktv. biographer recalls the life the hettie green whose family
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inheritance was near $100 million near the end of her life and dubbed "the witch of wall street" for her tough demeanor and frugal lifestyle, she made fortunes against the thinking of investors. she speaks in the corner book shop in new york city. >> and then she told me about her, how she was a financial genius, how she, at the time she lived was called "the witch of wall street," and so i started to read about her, and i thought she was, oh, she was interesting, but finance and wall street and then it was
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2008. [laughter] everything changed. the stock market collapsed, real estate prices plunged. we were in a financial panic, and i started thinking some more about hetty green and how she survived several financial crisis in her day. one of the things that i look for in someone i'm writing about is diaries, because, of course, they are so revealing, and then i remember there were no die ryes and i i remembered something that was said which was that nice girls keep diaries. bad girls don't have time. [laughter] hetty was bad. she was not bad about men. she was bad about money. she was consumed by money which
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was not so dissimilar from the rest of her family. she was born in new bedford, massachusetts in 1834 to a prosperous family of whaling merchants, and in those days, whale oil fueledded the houses and factories, not only here, but around the world, and whale parts were used for perfumes, for paint for corsets for buggy whips, and just about everything in between. her family was extremely prosperous and lived in what new bedford was then, the most prosperous town in america, and they seemedded like they embodied, her family embodied american values. they were hard working. they were rich. they were upstanding citizens. her father supported abraham lincoln later on, and they were
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spiritual. they were quakers. they had the new england values, the quaker values of thrift to the point of stinginess, particularly, her father, and they believed in simplicity and plain living. to them, to the quakers, wealth was a sign of virtue, a sign of god's blessing. nay were very blessed except that her father really wanted a son, and when his first child was born, it was a girl, it was hetty, and he became enraged. furious. so much so that her mother took to her bed, and hetty was dismissed from the house before she was 2 years old, sent to live with her grandfather and her spinster aunt. what she reallimented --
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really wanted was her father's love, and she knew the only way to gain it was to earn it because her father was upset with money, and he said so himself. her grandfather taught her to read the newspapers and the business news and the stock and bond prices in the newspapers when she was a little girl, as soon as she could read. at the age of 8, she opened her own account at the savings bank in town, and then she was sent off to a quaker boarding school where, again, she was taught about thrift. she was to to eat what was before her, whatever mush it might be, and if she didn't eat it, she was served it until it was all gone. she was taught to respect the poorer girls in her class, and it was her tuition and the tuition of the other rich girls
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paying for the poorer girls. then in this sort of strange way of her family, she was sent to a fans sigh finishing school in posten where she was taught to dance well, be a witty conversationalist, and became a striking young woman. in 1854, she had her debut in new york, and she came back here a few years later. nothing would outdo the flurry of the excitement that hetty encountered returning to new york in the fall of 1860, the city shimmered with news that the prince of wales was coming to visit. in his honor, a group of leading citizens -- women spent hours twisting their
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curls, and at 9 p.m., the evening of friday, october 12th, excited couples who had paid $10* r -- $10 a piece arrived at the academy of music in irving tales. women in hoop skirts, covered # in is satin and a blaze of jewes gave aren't we special nods to acquaints and friends. the orchestra played "god save the queen," and the slight small prince stepped into the room. for two hours, nearly 3,000 of new york's finest citizensññr blushed like schoolgirls to meet him, and in a mad crush, the wooden floor collapsed. nevermind, no one was hurt. [laughter] the band played furiously. the prince and the court was led upstairs, the guests rushed to
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follow, and waiters piled plates with beef, pate, and filled glasses with champaigne. at 2 a.m., the floor timely fixed, strains of a stress could be heard, eager females, young and old, waited their turn for a wailings or polka, and finally, the young woman from new bedford was tapped. stunning in her low cut white gown with pink, her arms covered in long white gloves, and feathers in her hands, hetty was introduced to the finest, the prince of wales. i am the princess of wales she replied. [laughter] of all daughters that are beautiful, you are froof of that, said the prince, and he sailed her away on the dance
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floor. [laughter] well, it was not the prince who courted her, but a fellow named edward green who was over six feet tall and over 200 pounds in weight, and a self-made millionaire. he asked hetty to marry him, and her father agreed to it. on one condition, that edward sign a prenup, that they live on edward's money, and hetty's money would be hers to protect, increase, and pass on to the next generation. shortly after that, her father died. he left her a million dollars. the rest of his estate, $5 million, remember, this was 1865, $5 million put in a trust for her, which hurt her deeply. she expected to be able to control her own money.
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two weeks later, her aunt died, spinster ant, and hetty was the only heir to the family wealth, and the aunt agreed to a will in which she would leave all the money, $2 million to hetty, but instead, she left half to the town of new bedford and to her friends, and the other half to hetty, and, again, she put it in trust. hetty was furious. she sued. the lawsuit went on for years. it became a landmark case, and hetty became for life, and after that, they married and went to england to live where he sold american railroad bonds, the days of the boom in the railroad selling bonds and hetty gave birth to two children, a son and
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daughter, and she invested her money in railroad bonds and in greenbacks, and she boasted in one day she made $200,000. banks loaning easy money at low interest rates, real estate prices were rising, and investors were buying the american bonds because they paid high interest rates, but the prices for land and houses in europe were so high they had reached # the level where no one could afford them, no one could pay the prices, and so the markets started falling, and then they couldn't buy the bonds, and so they started selling them. 80% of american railroad bonds at the time were owned by
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europeans. one the great american railroads then went into bankruptcy, and the bank funding it had to close. there was no more structures for the bonds, and hetty and edward had to come back to america, and they came back to new york. the city boomed, ten story buildings on the horizon, and central park stretchedded north as far as 80th street. expensive brown stone houses replaced shanties on 5th avenue, and apartment houses appeared for the first time. they opened the largest bookstore in the world, the spires of st. patricks touched the sky, and the metropolitan museum of art as well as the museum of natural history. the exuberant spending that infected new york was no
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difference from the unfettered expansion fed by industrial entrepreneurs, promoters, and real estate speculators in the midwest and the west. by the autumn of 1873, the financial panic had pricked the bubble of hope and flattened the country into dispair. does that sound familiar? [laughter] new york jittered as stocks bounced up and down. on wall street, men in frock coats, ties, and silk hats, stunned by their losses, moved in a daze. only a few months before, they walked briskly, stove pipes bulging, and now they held on to the tall hats worrying over their jobs. even lawyers suddenly found themselves unemployed. shortly after hetty arrived, she dawned her dark dress and cloak, crammed her bag with stocks and bonds, and rode downtown to see
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her banker. head down, hetty made her way along the route of america's riches, past the custom house, past the buildings of the rothchilds, past the shuttered doors, and at 59 wall street, she entered the offices of john cisco, the banker for herself, her father before, and her husband. he made services available for her wall street business. at this time, when stocks were being abandoned, hetty wanted to trade. i believe in getting in at the bottom and out at the top she often said. [laughter] when i see a good thing going cheap because nobodiments it, i -- nobody wants it, i buy is a lotf it and tuck it away. for hetty, the decline in the
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market offered an opportunity for the future. hetty invested. her husband gambled. at one point, he crossed the red line when he used her money as collateral for bad risks. when she had to pay for his mistakes, she sent him packing. [laughter] hetty was not a single working mother with two children. at the time, there were constant articles about how infear your -- inferior women were, about how inept women were with money, and how innately impossible it was for them to invest. there was constant articles about hetty, how she was mean, about how she was micely, about how she was a terrible mother. well, in true quaker, new
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england style, she washed her pennys, to an extreme. she lived in boarding houses, plain apartments, dressed in old clothes, she ate simply, but she taught her son and daughter as much as she could about business. she believed that girls should know about business and finance at the very least, be better wives, but she thought they should know about having careers, even if they didn't need one. she believed that women were the equal of any man. for the next 25 years, america had ups and downs. there were booms, and then there were -- in 18893, a bust. after a long recession, there was a great boom, and in 1907, there was a great bust, and every time it happened, it was
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caused by greed and by ego, by over lending and over spending. as warrant buffet said recentlily, a climate of fear is an investors' best friend. well, hetty was brave, courageous, kept a cool head, worked hard, did her homework, and she knew her companies. when everyone in the boat jumped overboard, she climbed in to grab the oars, and when everyone was rushing to row, she clam moried off the bode. that took courage, but she bought when everyone was selling, and she sold when everyone was buying. by the time she died in 1916, she had owned mortgages on 28 churches in chicago, and she owned houses and office buildings, big blocks, and mines
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from vermont to new york, from illinois to missouri, to texas to california. she helped out banks when times were bad, and they were in trouble. [laughter] she was the largest individual lender to new york city government. she lived in the guilded age when society lived lavishly, but she rebelled against their op pew lance. she lived a simple life, loved her children and her friends, she was weary of those who befended her for her -- befriended her for her money, and she showed the dog great affection, and when asked why, she said, he doesn't know how rich i am. [laughter] she lived her life as she deemed best. she forged a path for women to have business careers and be mothers, and through clever investing, she showed that women were the equal of any man.
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at her death, newspapers around the world, around the world, proclaimed her the queen of wall street. it was known throughout that she was the richest woman in america. so i -- there's lots of sayings in the back of the book, words of wisdom that are fun. she had a sense of humor, and she was one smart lady, so if you have any questions, i'd love to try and answer. yes? >> did you find any evidence of her for the women's right to vote? >> none, none. she said women should not have the right to vote. it's interesting because i have found that with a lot -- many humanly successful women, gertrude bell who i wrote about in "desert queen" did not agree in women's suffrage. margaret thatcher didn't believe
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in it. it's interesting. it's like they want to make their way in a man's world almost or feel that women should be doing it on their own. >> i hate to generalize, but i think women are their own worst enemies for other women because there is a glass ceiling as we all know. right. >> and when you get into a situation, or help to get through a certain barrier, it was there. women like to keep it to themselves. >> yes, yeah, yeah. >> sadly -- >> and i think they love being successful in a man's world making them special. >> hence the path that shows. >> yes? >> extraordinary woman, how come we have not heard of her? >> you know, she was so famous in her day, there were popular songs about her, plays written about her of the she was in the newspapers at least once a week.
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often more. she had two children, as i mentioned, but no grandchildren. there were no more heirs. her name kind of disappeared. there were no buildings named after her, no great institutions that carried her name, and i think that that's -- that's why it happened, but i have come across many people who had heard of her, whose parents said, oh, don't be like hetty green or be like hetty green. [laughter] yes? >> so what happened to her wealth? >> it, well, it went to her son and daughter, and then when they died, it was distributed amongst hundreds of heirs because that was the original plan. if there were no more heirs, that it would go, be spread around the family, distant, distant cousins who didn't even know they were related to her.
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[laughter] her name when she was born was hetty hallins robertsons. they were a big family in new england. that's where it went. yeah. >> so her children were not famous in any way? >> her son was quite well-known. he was -- she asked him to buy a small branch of a bankrupt railroad in texas in the 1890s, and he turned it into the most successful small railroad, the texas midland railroad, in the state, and then he did a number of things. he went back to new bedford, built a brand new house on the family property, and turned it into a center for radio technology and meteorology, gave it to the united states government during world war ii, and so he was -- he had one of the greatest collections of
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coins and stamps so he really made a mark for himself. yeah? >> one of the things that strikes me about the gilled age and the wealth is that there were a lot of wealthy people who believedded in giving back to society, particularly, andrew carnegie. did she donate money to public service? >> she never did it publicly. she would dismiss any suggestion that she had, but then her son said, and others had said, that there were plenty of places she gave to or people that she gave to. she never wanted it known. she felt she was hoppedded -- hounded for the money, getting letters beseeching her. she kept it as quiet as possible. there's no proof. there's no proof. because other people said it at
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the time, and she had a very close friend named anny who lived in the neighborhood here who was a great catholic philanthropist, and she was a countess, and i never knew about that title, but that's how generous she was, and i think she got hetty to give money to the church, yeah. [laughter] yeah. >> how hard was it to research? >> well, it was difficult because there were no die -- diaries, no journals, no correspondence. she didn't want any trace of her signature because she was afraid -- she was accused in that lawsuit against her aunt's estate, accused of forging her aunt's signature. she was always afraid that somebody would forming -- forge her signature. there was very little to go on, but what i did read was a billion newspapers. there were constantly stories about her in the papers and
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